Friday, July 9, 2010

The Bigoted Reality of the Orange Order

For nationalists throughout the six counties, the Orange Order's 12th of July 'celebrations' are far from being an occasion to celebrate. While the corporate media and the political establishment north and south of the border have tried to play down and sanitise the image of this rabidly sectarian organisation and its activities, these Orangemen and their supporters continue to insist on forcing their triumphalist, hate-filled, sectarian parades through nationalist areas against the wishes of the local communities. 

Today (Saturday July 10) sees the Orange Order's annual twelfth parade taking place in Rossnowlagh in Co. Donegal.

Last Sunday (July 5) Portadown orangemen tried once again, and thankfully failed, to force their way down through the nationalist Garvaghy Road in Portadown.

Two nights earlier in Newtownbutler in County Fermanagh, loyalist bands accompanied by up to a thousands of their followers, including the DUP's Arlene Foster were astonishingly given permission by the Parades Commission to travel from around the six-counties to the nationalist village and march through it without any restrictions despite the objections of local residents.

To accomodate this unwanted parade, the village was placed under a virtual siege. Parts of the village was closed off with PSNI gunmen stopping and issuing threats to young local nationalists not to attend the residents protest that evening. (click here for more on the residents protest)

Next Monday, the residents of Ardoyne are to be forced once again by the Parades Commission to endure yet another unwanted sectarian march through their community. Last years march seen hundreds of drunken loyalists taunting and singing sectarian songs at local residents as the parade was forced though Ardoyne.
Photo coutersy of the Greater Arcoyne Residents Collective (G.A.R.C)

Hundreds of heavily armed riot police were deployed to curtail the freedom of movement of local residents and using batons, water cannons and plastic bullets to break up peaceful protests by residents against the sectarian march being forced by the PSNI through their area.  At least ten people suffered plastic bullet injuries as the PSNI unleashed a wave of violence against the lpeople of Ardoyne.

This is the reality of the so-called 'marching season' and Twelfth of July 'celebrations' for northern nationalists. It is what the people of Ardoyne and many other areas throughout the six counties can expect on Monday and throughout the rest of the 'marching season'.

The demands of the people of Ardoyne are quite simple and reasonable. According to the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (G.A.R.C) people want to be “left in peace” and to have loyalist marches “re-routed” away from this district. To this end the G.A.R.C had proposed an alternative route for the orange march to take, a route the G.A.R.C say has been endorsed by more than 1100 households in the greater Ardoyne area. 

This move has been rejected by the sham that is the Parades Commission and G.A.R.C have called for opponents of these sectarian marches to travel to Ardoyne to support local residents in a peaceful protest on Monday next (July 12).  The people of Ardoyne deserve and need all the assistance they can get as the PSNI will in all likelihood place the people of the area under siege to try to prevent protests and to enable them to force their bigoted comrades in the orange order through this community.

And while the bulk of the media and political establishment ignore this reality which northern nationalists have to live with, whether deliberately or through ignorance, for those living in or close to these areas where the Orangemen insist on forcing through their unwanted parades, this is a time of real fear and anxiety.

Much of the media have tried to portray the Twelfth as a “family day out”. Indeed an editorial in one Donegal newspaper last year (Donegal News 17/7/09) went so far as to make the ludricous claim that the Orange Order had made “strenuous efforts to ensure that the annual twelfth celebrations become an occasion to be enjoyed by both sides of the community”. But for those families who have to up, leave their home and take their loved ones as far as possible away from these parades of hate, there is nothing 'fun' and nothing to be 'enjoyed' about the twelfth.

For most families, while they may be glad to have escaped the march and whatever the loyalists and PSNI may have visited upon them and their community, they live in fear that they may return to find their home burnt out by orange mobs as has happened on so many occasions in the past. Riots, assaults, incursions by mobs into nationalist areas and the firebombing of houses and premises by drunken orange order supporters are regular occurrences every year. Last year was no different. There is nothing to make us believe this year will be any different either.

Which makes it all the more astonishing and appalling that Donegal County Council actually provided funding and took part in an official launch of the Twelfth parade in Rossnowlagh last year. By doing so they were and are complicit in the bigotry, sectarianism and accompanying violence visited on nationalist communities by orange order thugs throughout the occupied six-counties.

It is an insult to those communities who year after year have had to, and continue to endure the triumphalism, bigotry, and intimidation of the orange order and its supporters.

The orange order is not some benevolent and family orientated cultural organisation as many would try to make out. It was, and remains to this very day, a reactionary, bigoted, sectarian organisation that, just like the Klu Klux Klan, has no place in any civilised society.

Its very rationale for existence is a deep hatred and contempt for everything either catholic, nationalist or republican.  The only positive contribution that this organisation has to offer the people of Ireland would be its immediate disbandment.

Support the right of residents of Ardoyne and other nationalist areas throughout the six-counties. to live in peace and free from sectarian hatred on the twelfth of July and indeed all year round.  Oppose all sectarian marches.

1 comment:

  1. The Organge Order was clearly created in order to break the growing unity between Irish Catholics and Presbyterians immediately prior to and especially after the 1798 Rising. It exists now, as then, to keep the Presbyterians loyal to the Crown and hating Republicans and anti-imperialists. They have kept most of that community sectarian, backward, narrow-minded, racist.